Is Grace Allen’s story in Missing real? Its parallels with true crime cases

Grace Allen Missing

Missing, set to premiere at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival, is one the most anticipated mystery thrillers to kickstart the year.

The film tracks the detective skills of a frantic June (played by Storm Reid) as she wades through the digital footprint of her missing mother, Grace Allen (Nia Long), who disappeared after a getaway to Columbia with her boyfriend Kevin (Ken Leung).

With the trailer’s hyper-realistic social media depictions of the missing case making the rounds on the internet, some are wondering if Grace Allen’s disappearance is a true crime story.

Grace Allen’s disappearance is a plot point in the fictional mystery thriller film Missing

If the disappearance of Grace Allen is taken out of context, it has all the makings of a real-life missing case. A woman who goes missing in a foreign country while out on a vacation with her new boyfriend sounds a bit too similar to the many disappearance accounts covered by the news.

However, in this case, Grace is a fictional character in the mystery film Missing. The screenplay for it was adapted from a story written by screenwriters Sev Ohanian and Aneesh Chaganty.

Directed by Nick Johnson and Will Merrick, the film is a standalone sequel to the hit 2018 thriller Searching, which employed the same screenlife format to tell its narrative.

Apart from its visual components, reviews of the film have praised its social commentary on the perpetually online ‘Gen Z culture’ and the entertainment industry’s tendency to cash in on true crime events.

It also highlighted the new norm of the public reacting to disappearance news on popular social media sites such as TikTok and Reddit which often leads to misinformation and encourages armchair or amateur investigators to erroneously “solve” the case.